When I was around 4 or 5 my family was living in Betul, a very small town in Madhya Pradesh. Major chunk of my day was spent outdoors, climbing trees, fighting with my sister, plucking flowers, dirtying my feet in the mud and touching the touch-me-not plant. My parents always told me that trees are living beings— but they never made any movements or did anything that living beings do, I was always confused.
My sister also would tell me not to disturb the trees at night as they were sleeping. I found it very hard to believe that those beautiful green leafy tall things were not “lifeless”. The touch-me-nots were the only ones who gave any proof of life to me and as a child it was one of the most fascinating things for me. I think it still is.
We had a huge row of the “chuimui” plants in our house and one of my favourite pass times was to be around them run my hands over them, watch the leaves come together and then wait for them expectantly to open again only to repeat the process all over again.
My mother saw this opportunity to teach me about stimulus and plant world but I could not care about what she had to say. I let her fill the silence as I waited for the leaves to open.
As I grew old and we changed cities I never came across the plant again. It has been 18 years or so.
I know it’s a weird fascination – to bother a plant. But it is one of the most beautiful things of my life. Some thing getting back to its “normal” state all by itself even after being made to do the exact opposite multiple times. No matter how many time you touch the leaves, they open up again, never stopping for once. I know all of this have a scientific explanation backing it.
But, somehow the whole thought around it is very comforting, especially now when I think I have become like a touch-me-not plant.
Shutting myself, everything out as soon as something slightly uncomfortable happens in my surrounding, something if a thought is discomforting, everything around me closes, I try to hide from the world, myself.
Unlike the touch-me-not I cannot find the strength to open up again ready to face the other “touch” or push coming my way.
Today after so many years I want to be around a touch-me-not again because I want to see for myself whether it is possible for anyone/anything to go move on, stand up, normalise even after being trouble over and over again. I want to see that there exists a phenomenon like this somewhere, no matter how small or inconsequential it maybe….